I’d texted “thank you so much, I’ll see you on Wednesday. I can’t wait to work for you!”
“You won’t be working for us” he’d replied “you’ll be working with us“
That text pretty much gave me all I needed to know about Claudio & Isabella before I’d even checked in to my flight to Palermo. They are some of the most lovely and open people to work with. They care so much for their business, guests and also for the people working for them. I’ve been very lucky.
I love Sicily, as soon as I stepped off the plane and got that amazing hit to the face of hot scented air and looked over to the craggy mountains I was sure I’d be happy here. I’m going to be here for a while so I’m going to sidestep describing Palermo with all its sights, sounds smells and tastes. The markets where you overwhelmed by the acrid waves of dried fish quickly replaced by the cloying sweetness of hundreds of fresh peaches, the bustling piazzas, laid back parks and the constant mouthgasms whenever you eat or drink almost anything. I have weeks to try and do justice to Palermo, so now, for this first post, I’m going to side step the delightful assault to the senses that is Palermo and concentrate on the work. The reason I’m here and the way that I can afford to stay here and sample the delights of Sicily while not having to destitute myself.
For the last few years Workaway has been one of my favourite travel porn sites. I spent hours flicking through and looking at all the tempting opportunities without any of intention of actually committing myself to any of them – the way I imagine other people browse Kurt Geigers website or Tinder. As the purpose of this trip is to explore ways of travelling for free/cheap it seemed like a great place to start. Within a week of sending emails and talking to different people looking to host workawayers I had found the Mob House hostel and Claudio and Isabella had invited me to start as soon as possible.
I’ve been working at the Mob House Hostel for just under one week now and it’s been fantastic so far. I’ll run you through an average day
- I wake at 8 and curse my messy backpacker karma for the state of the kitchen. I left wine rings, dirty glasses and bottle tops on the floor when I stayed in hostels and expected the nighttime hostel fairies to come and clean it up before I pulled myself out of whatever self inflicted mess id gone to sleep in. Well, can you see my wings? Because I am now that invisible hostel fairy and hostel karma has screwed me.
- Lay out breakfast for the guests.
- Collapse back into bed for an hour or stay up drinking coffee and chatting with the guests depending on my mood/ how much wine I’d had the night before.
- Possibly get up and do a few check ins or deal with any questions guests may have.
- Wait until the guests are pretty much out of the way and then crack on with some cleaning. Clean the two bathrooms, 3 dorm rooms, kitchen and then the floors throughout. Make sure everything is pretty tidy and then I’m pretty much done.
- Sometimes there are late check ins in which case I might need to stay around for those or to pop back later on but I usually get a little bonus for these as they are outside of ‘working hours’ although the whole schedule is pretty relaxed and not too enforced.
For these five hours five days a week I get free accommodation in a beautiful hostel in central Palermo, free breakfast everyday, two completely work free days a week and €20 plus any check in bonuses. I also really enjoy the work, I love meeting the people staying at the hostel, going for a beer and just getting to know new people. New people that I can hypothetically visit at some point in the future. Already this week I’ve been invited to stay in Cologne, Madrid, Geneva & London. I love knowing people dotted all about the place.
How the purse is looking, week 3 and the first week in Sicily
- Beer, wine, drinks and good times – €21
- Trip to Mondelo beach -€11
- Supermarket food – €26
- Street food -€12
- New trainers (rain is coming and the flip flops aren’t up to it) -€32
- Delicious and lovely treaty extravagant meal spent with Jazz and Libby -€20 ( I owe the lovely Jasmien €10)
- Flight booked from Geneva to Alicante – €42
- Miscellaneous -€16
- Payment from Mobhouse plus check in bonuses + 34
Which leaves me with . . .
TOTAL : €457